Given the amount of rain that drenched Paris on Thursday and Friday, Roland Garros managing to complete its second round on schedule may be the biggest against-the-odds victory the tournament will see this fortnight. Here are some of the under-the-radar stories you may have missed between the downpours.

Photo of the round (above): Paquet soaks up the love

No.136-ranked wild card Chloe Paquet’s improbable upset of Diana Shnaider was already a terrific first-round story. But the Frenchwoman wasn’t done, battling to a 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6[6] win over No.32 seed Katerina Siniakova in 3 hours and 7 minutes to make the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the age of 29.

Throughout, Paquet was buoyed by boisterous support from the Court 7 crowd, and she soaked up their love afterwards, signing autographs and taking selfies with as many fans as she could.

“All the French people are crazy just on the court, so amazing atmosphere,” she said. “I give everything on a daily basis for these moments. If there was one place to choose, I wanted it to be Roland Garros for the first time that I reached this third round. I live here. I train here all year round, and playing in front of a Parisian audience is incredible. It’s the first time I think that I’ve felt so much emotion, and I’m super happy.”

Photos: All of 2024’s three-hour matches

Paquet is one of two Frenchwoman who have reached the third round, along with Varvara Gracheva. She’ll bid to keep writing her underdog narrative against Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova next.

Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

Gracheva: Third-round Slam specialist

Talking of Gracheva, the 23-year-old managed to back up her first-round upset of No.6 seed Maria Sakkari with an impressive 57-minute 6-1, 6-3 rout of Bernarda Pera. She’s now reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the sixth time in her career, and for the third time at Roland Garros.

Those six appearances are all the more impressive considering that Gracheva has only contested 15 Slam main draws to date — and has yet to be seeded at any of them. That means that she’s delivered a Grand Slam performance above her ranking 40% of the time.

The flipside of Gracheva’s numbers is that she has yet to progress beyond the third round of any major. She’s 0-5 so far, and hasn’t won a set in any of those matches. Only one active player has more Grand Slam third-round appearances without having made the fourth round: Lauren Davis, who is 0-6 at this stage. (Polona Hercog is level with Gracheva at 0-5.)

This time, the hurdle in front of Gracheva’s second-week debut is Irina-Camelia Begu.

Brand new Roland Garros semifinalist guaranteed

Ana Bogdan’s 6-4, 6-4 upset of No.20 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was a milestone win for the Romanian, who had won just nine games and no sets in her previous three meetings with Pavlyuchenkova.

It also had wider draw ramifications. Pavlyuchenkova, the 2021 runner-up, was the only player left in the third quarter who had made the last four in Paris before — so a fresh face is now guaranteed in this year’s semifinals. Five players in this section are previous Grand Slam semifinalists or better — Elena Rybakina, Zheng Qinwen, Elina Svitolina, Elise Mertens and Bianca Andreescu. But none have ever gone that deep at Roland Garros before.

The remaining three contenders in this section are Elina Avanesyan, Jasmine Paolini and Bogdan. Avanesyan and Paolini have never gone beyond the fourth round of a major, while Bogdan will be bidding for her second-week debut against Svitolina.

A brand new Grand Slam quarterfinalist is also guaranteed. Second-round upsets of No.10 seed Daria Kasatkina, No.19 seed Victoria Azarenka and No.27 seed Linda Noskova followed first-round losses by No.6 seed Maria Sakkari and former semifinalist Nadia Podoroska in the same section. Consequently, one of Gracheva, Begu, Mirra Andreeva and Peyton Stearns will make the last eight of a major for the first time.

Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images

Reversals … and avoided reversals

The biggest upset of the round on paper was qualifier Olga Danilovic’s 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-4 defeat of No.11 seed Danielle Collins — notable because it flipped round the result of their Madrid clash a month ago almost exactly. There, Collins came from a set and a break down to win in 2 hours and 43 minutes; here, Danilovic came from a set and a break down to win in 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Another wild Madrid ride seemed to be on course to be reversed in Paris. In the first round in the Spanish capital, Wang Xinyu saved a remarkable 10 match points to come from a set and 5-2 down against Viktoriya Tomova, eventually winning 5-7, 7-5, 6-4. The pair met again in the second round here, and Wang headed out to a 7-5, 5-3 lead.

This time, it was Tomova who threatened the unlikely comeback, saving a match point as Wang served at 5-4 and forcing a decider. But Wang made no mistake, winning 16 of the first 17 points of the third set to squash Tomova’s hopes of revenge.


Leave a Reply